Thame Youth Memorial
Registered UK charity number 1135630.

The Memorial Garden Design

Whilst it is true that life is not infinite, the ability to remember and reflect on lost friends or loved ones is, through memories shared – not just with those around us now but with the generations that follow.

These concepts of Infinity and Reflection are the building blocks upon which the Memorial design has evolved, through the generous efforts, over many months, of a number of local designers and the Youth Memorial Supporters group.

The pieces within the Memorial Garden have been carefully chosen to complement each other, in keeping with the surroundings in which they are placed, and in the context of the Conservation Area.

Accessibility for all, including wheelchairs, is achieved by the paving of the circular seating area and the connecting pathway to the sculpture in honed natural stone. The access pathways into the garden leading onto the circular seating area will be paved in a contrasting natural stone.

The semi circular benches have been designed to work with the water feature situated at the centre of the seating area, to encourage groups to sit, engage with each other, share their thoughts, their experiences and possibly, their loss. The water feature has a seating platform around its outer edge, made from the same honed stone used for the floor paving, as if it was risen from the floor.

The water feature contains a black granite top, with the water pumped from the centre, trickling gently over the surface- much like an Infinity pool- returning to a recirculating tank. The walls will be constructed from the same contrasting natural stone used to pave the access pathways.

Encircling the water feature, we have the Infinity Memorial band.

Inlaid within the natural stone, the granite Memorial band will be segmented and engraved at the request of affected families wishing to remember their loved one in this way. The same granite is used for the water feature and the Memorial band, ensuring that the visual impacts are of the pieces themselves, not of an abundance of different materials. Within the smaller loop of the Infinity Band
will be a stone engraved with ‘Thame Youth Memorial’ and the date that it was established.

The sculpture, created from a 4 tonne block of white Carrera Marble is located at the narrowing end of the garden. The piece is mounted at floor level, designed to encourage direct interaction, and is intentionally without detailed features so that it can represent whatever is in the mind of the beholder. From the seating area the eye is drawn through the water feature, down to the sculpture.

The paving will be bordered by low level box hedging to separate the planted areas, which will contain hardy, low maintenance planting sympathetic to the installations. The planting design utilises box hedging to accent the paved areas, and to allow seasonal change to the planted areas. This may include sensory planting.

Gentle lighting will complement the installation, specifically around the water feature and the sculpture. Lighting within the water feature is planned to illuminate the granite top from below, to give a halo of light between the granite and the natural stone surround.

As part of the groundworks, Thame’s Diamond Jubilee committee will be sinking a “Time Capsule”, created from items donated from within our community, deep in the foundations of the sculpture site.

Please click the thumbnail images below to see the plans and illustrations of the memorial site.